Broadcom Pushes Wi-Fi Security with a Single Button

One button access to WPA encryption, huh? Better than that weak old WEP I guess. While its applications might be the subject of arguments, I think that it is pretty obvious that it has some real potential in the VoIP arena.

The new revision of Broadcom’s system to make it easier to secure home networks without entering settings is called SecureEasySetup (formerly SecureEZSetup), and is backed initially by Linksys and HP in a press release; Buffalo Technologies separately confirmed that they will also support the system through firmware upgrades.

SecureEasySetup in its simplest form requires manufacturers of Wi-Fi equipment to put an external button on their devices. Pressing such a button on an access point or gateway and then, within a short interval, on a piece of equipment like a Wi-Fi PC Card, a Wi-Fi-equipped DVD/media player, or Voice over IP (VoIP) Wi-Fi phone causes a secure connection to be created between the device and the Wi-Fi router. A WPA Personal key is then provided to the device, enabling it to get on the network with no manual configuration.

This one-button approach can be simulated through client software as well for older devices or devices that don’t have the form factor for an external button.

The initial pass on this system last year was welcome but a bit wonky and didn’t catch on due to too many manual parts of the process. Broadcom took a page from Buffalo’s AirStation One-touch Secure System (AOSS) and took it down to the fewest necessary steps—and no typing.

“All you need to do is press a button on a router, then press a button on the client and then you’re done,” said Jeff Abramowitz, the senior director of marketing for Broadcom’s home and wireless networking business unit. This new system is designed to help people connect all kinds of devices, he said, not just wireless LAN equipment.